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I especially loved the portion in Psalms today. And that video of the song, "Sweet Holy Spirit" is great! I'll be listening to that one again today.

I don't know about the rest of you but Leviticus makes me even more greatful that Jesus died for my sins. I mean what thoese people had to go though, just to be forgiven. It fills my heart with such joy to know that the whole spirit lives within me all the time.

"Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you." This verse is so powerful! To know that the God who made willing to help us with everything!! What a GREAT way to start the day!! Lord, You are so real...thank you for really caring about our little concerns, worries and fears...I'm going to commit all I think, do and say to you today...It's going to be a great day!

Hi all! this is my first time commenting. I actually started reading the OYB back at the end of October of last year. So I'm a bit ahead but it's actually great to come back and take another look and re-examine what I've read. It also helps me as I sometimes struggle to understand what I am reading since this is the first time I've really tried to read the Bible. With that said, I hope that y'all will understand if I might be off with some of the things I say. I appreciate any help as I want to keep growing and learning.

Anyway what I wanted to comment on was Mike's question about the new testament:

"Why do you suppose Jesus' ministry gained such notice during his lifetime? Why do you suppose that Jesus' ministry continues to gain such notice today? Could it be that there is true power in Jesus' ministry? Could it be that Jesus changes lives? Heals people - teaches people - loves people - forgives people.... Could it be that Jesus is the Savior of the World?"

-- I think there are a lot of people who feel that in today's world there is so much more despair, greed, anger, envy, etc. versus when Jesus was on the earth and teaching the word of God. While I do think that it's definitely more apparent today with the materialistic value that people place in things, I think that even when Jesus was on earth, there was plenty of the same stuff going on. I think for these reasons, people were looking for something to help them move away from those things, they were looking for help and for salvation. I think that that is why Jesus had so many people who believed and followed him. He gave such hope to people. All the miracles he performed and the fact that he died so that our sins could be forgiven, I think that that resonates within people even more and why his ministry has spread more today. People need guidance and hope and Jesus is that hope for us. Only through Jesus can we get through to God. The fact that Jesus will return is what gives us hope and keeps his ministry alive. The fact that when I turn to him in need, he is always there for me. I think that these reasons are why Jesus' voice and lessons have been heard through the course of time. He gives us hope.

God Bless you all and thanks for listening!

-New Leaf

Psalm 37:1-11

1 "Do not fret because of evil men
or be envious of those who do wrong;"

"..envy is a mingling of a desire for something with the resentment that another is enjoying it and you are not....Psalm 37:1, Proverbs 23:17, Galatians 5:26, I Peter 2:1. All of them say, Don’t be envious. So it’s not biblical to be envious. It is against the will of God for you to give into envy." - John Piper
So - envy is wrong - how are we to handle it:

- "Trust in the Lord, do good."

-"So you will dwell in the land and enjoy security." It could be "enjoy security," but, literally, it is "feed on faithfulness." Either way I think it means God’s faithfulness, and so the idea of security is right and good. - John Piper

-"Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." and "Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him."

All the key words are in the Hebrew Imperative - they are a command by the Psalmist (David).

"Trust" - for almost a year I have been harping on that a reliable thread through the ENTIRE bible is trust in, rely on, and depend on God. Trust here means trust in a confident way - a bold way - secure in your faith. Why? Because God is faithful (enjoy security).

"Delight" - take unbounded joy in the Lord. If you trust in , believe in, and commit yourself to the Lord - the true desires of your heart (with the lead of the Holy Spirit) will be fulfilled and then some.

- "Commit" - in Hebrew actually means to "roll with" or "roll together". You are commiting to do it God's way - not yours. You are going to "roll" with God as your buckle and shield - your provider.
Why should we be totally restful and confident that God is for us?

2 for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.

The wicked's gains are temporal and will not stand the test of eternity.

9 For evil men will be cut off,
but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.

10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
though you look for them, they will not be found.

It is just a matter of time.

And from above - you (the believer) in the end will dwell in the land, enjoy God's faithfulness and all of his promises, thus gaining the desires of your heart.
11 But the meek will inherit the land
and enjoy great peace.

To the OT saints it was the land (Israel) , and Christ brought even more to the table in the Beatitudes, namely, "Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth."

"meek" in this contect has the connotation of humility, being humble. Who did Jesus say, earlier in Matthew, would be in the kingdom of heaven? Those who were as humble as this child.

"The meek will possess the land and delight themselves in abundant shalom." This word is translated "prosperity" or "peace" here, which probably has a ring that is not so helpful in our day. In the Hebrew it refers to the whole well-being that comes to those who trust.

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Proverbs 10:2-4

Look at 10:2-3:

2"Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit, but righteousness delivers from death. 3 The LORD does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked."

"At first reading these verses may seem to be in violation of what we know about the gains that accrue to those who do evil. But look more closely. Verse 2 begins, “Treasures gained by wickedness.” That is, the author acknowledges that there are treasures that the wicked gain! His point is not that the wicked never prosper. His point in these two verses is that while wickedness may lead to earthly riches, those riches will never satisfy our deepest desires, and in the end wickedness leads to eternal death." - Coty Pinckney
4 Lazy hands make a man poor,
but diligent hands bring wealth.

My understanding of these verses are that in the Hebrew form they are set in "contrast".

The lazy, slack, deceitful hands make a man poor - but eager diligent hands bring wealth.

It is not that either makes one "poor" or "rich", but in contrast a diligent worker does better work and gains more than a person who cuts corners. This would be especially true in an agrarian society and would reflect on the harvest.

[Repost from last year]

Mark 3:13
"Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him."

Once again God takes the initiative. He chose them and they came.

Mark 3:21
"When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, "He is out of his mind."

I am pretty sure the Greek for family here translates "those near him" but that obscures the point:

How many times today is someone lauded for totally devoting (immersing) him or herself to their career? Actor, musician, businessman, politician, etc.

But if someone totally dedicates themselves to Christ and immerses himself in the bible - they are called "fanatics" or "zealots"?

Mark 3:7-30
Up to now the Romans have seen Jesus with authority (power) and knowledge (insightful regarding mankind even down to their thoughts) - both attributes granted by the Father.

Now Mark is emphasizing the crowds around Jesus. Romans were used to spectacles and large events to popularize a theme or person - but Mark is telling them this is not all good.

The crowds emphasized the wrong part of Jesus' ministry - the signs and wonders over the "message".

Crowds physically hindered the progression of the ministry.

And in large crowds there is invariably the "bad element" (unclean spirits here) hindering the message being put out, and those that want to say negative things about the "star" based on their own agenda.

How many times in my secular life did I hear a rock star or group say 'they came to see the show - and don't give a hoot to my music or what I am trying to say'? The crowd in Jesus' time was wanting a show - "healings".

Jesus would often have to separate Himself from the crowds - a boat, the mountainside, in a house. Thus hindering His ministry.

Why did Jesus silence the unclean (evil) spirits. I don't think it was just because He did not need their testimony - as he already had the prophets, John's, the Father's and His own. But there should be no mistaking Jesus as having anything to do with "worship" (falling down before Him) of such spirits and people being confused that He was from the "prince" of the air" (a god).

Finally, the commentators, the teachers of the law - whose prominence and monetary security depended on establishment of the status quo - ascribed Jesus' works to being in league with satan. Do they believe this - I doubt it - or Jesus would not warn them here. There is no need to warn one who is already over the line. I think, perhaps, they are just throwing "mud" hoping something sticks to the wall.

But they were close to it. So what is the "unpardonable sin"?

Rejecting and blaspheming the Holy Spirit. What does the Holy Spirit do that one cannot reject, and is guilty of eternal sin.

"All the work of the Holy Spirit is designed to exalt and declare and define the work of Jesus. So to reject the Holy Spirit, to blaspheme the Holy Spirit, is to reject the Spirit's witness of Christ." - Ray Stedman

You reject the above, you reject Christ, and you reject the Father who sent Him. I think this applies in the final sense - as you go through life you may reject the Sprit and ultimately come to Christ - but if you die in this condition - that is the eternal sin - and "damnation" is your sentence.

[I need to revist these last few paragraphs in some later gospels - but they will do for now:)]

Leviticus 6-7:27

Regarding the "smell" and how it is pleasing to God. In the Hebrew the word "aroma" as a metaphor means "delight".

I don't think the Leviticus passages have anything to do with the actual smell. (Consider this an anthropomorphism). But that God delights when the sacrifices are being done and His people are "truly" seeking His acceptance, joy, peace, forgiveness and restoration. (Outlined in previous two day's of posts). It is not the actual sacrifices that are pleasing to God - it is the intention and desire of man with which they are doing the sacrifices that pleases God. They are being obediant and fulfilling the needs of man through God.
While it is probably good health-wise to not eat (too much) fat, I think there is some symbolism here.

fat - represented "the richness of life" in OT.
Blood - represented "life" itself.

Israelites were to partake of neither because they represented things that only God can provide. God provides life. God provides the "richness of life". (All things come from God). I am sure the Israelites understood the symbolism - and that being the reason why these items were expended (consumed, sprinkled, poured out) on the altar. They were symbolically "of God".

As to Last Supper. Drinking from a "cup" in Jewish custom is to be in agreement/acceptance wth the contents of the cup. Hence - cups were drunk to seal marriage arrangements, treaties, border disputes, etc. In Psalms it speaks of God's "cup" of blessings and His "cup" of wrath. All thes examples indicate it is what the contents represent - not the actual contents that is of importance.

Jesus was saying to drink from the cup in "remembrance" of Him. To understand that His Blood was shed to permanently atone for sins - just like it was shed in Temple sacrifices. His shed blood was the establishment of a New Covenant. So the consumption of the wine at that table - and for us today - is symbolic of our acceptance of that content and the purpose for which it was done.

Since it was not actual "blood" and has never been so - it does not violate the concept of consuming "blood".

The Holy Spirit By Billy graham...
awesome book

I'm glad John A featured Mark 3:21. That one stood out for me too. Whether it refers to Jesus' literal, nuclear family as we understand it or it's meant in the larger sense, it is powerful. The world thinks we're nuts and often "the world" can mean those closest too us. I find it tremendously reassuring that Jesus experienced the same thing.

Re. Psalm 37 - it absolutely ROCKS!

E.g., v1 "Do not fret because of evil men" (Something I need to keep in mind every time I pick up a newspaper... and sometimes in my business dealings as well.)

v7 - "Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways". How often does that little voice creep in (it does for me) that says, instead: "shouldn't you be pressing harder to keep up with the 'Joneses' next door?" Answer: not if it's not the LORD's will for me, I shouldn't!

And finally, v9, "For evil men will be cut off..." Not 'might be' but WILL. Not 'set aside' but CUT OFF. There is justice. It will take time. Our God is taking notes. If we come to him humbly in Christ we needn't worry about this passage.

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